Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I'm serving virtual tea for my blogging friends who are
digging out of the big snowstorm on the East Coast. (smile)

It's time to answer the Hodgepodge questions from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. I'm linking my replies to her blog and checking to see how my blogging friends have responded as well. 

1. When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell yourself to 'chill out'?

I've had to tell myself to chill out, to keep me from getting myself into trouble with words that don't need to be said.

2. What most recently caused your heart to melt? 

TV commercials with puppy dogs.

3.  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton  

Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?

The adventure that stands out most strongly in my mind right now was this last November when I had an unexpected opportunity to ride cross country with my eldest son, just the two of us, from my house to his. Beloved and I had to reconfigure our Thanksgiving travel plans to accommodate this trip with my son, but it was time well-spent and a rare opportunity. At the end of the drive was a lively 2-day visit with 8 of my grandchildren before I hopped a plane to meet Beloved in Chicago. We then drove a few more hours to spend Thanksgiving with The Cook on Fifth Street and more extended family members.

4.  A Wendy's Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake...of these three, which one is your favorite 'frosty' treat?

A frosted chocolate cupcake would be my favorite 'frosty' treat. (gluten-free, of course)

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.

A symphony. Things have gone well but that will probably change soon as we have grand baby #10 due to be born just about any day now; and grand baby #11 is due in May. Both babies will be born well over a thousand miles from where we live, so we've got travel in our future.

6. Since it's a 'snow day' here, what's your favorite song containing the word 'white'?

"White Christmas," of course!

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?

If I had to leave my town, I would miss the close-up views of hills and mountains in every direction.

8. Insert your own random thought here.


Yesterday I hung a large (36-inch diameter) grapevine wreath on our front porch. It was a "dumpster dive" find (from my neighbor's trash a couple of months ago) and just too big (and messy) to hang inside the house. I wasn't sure how I wanted to decorate it. I knew I wanted to use burlap and to make it "non-seasonal specific" so it would look good year 'round (except for Christmas, of course).

I went to Michael's and came across a large picture on display of a design I liked. I snapped a picture of the picture and then shopped in the store to find the ribbon and florals needed to make my wreath as much like the original as possible. Here's the result:

That was fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What Am I Supposed to be Doing?

This morning I am saddened and angered that an enemy has taken the life of a man (maybe the lives of two) while the world appears to be standing still, watching and doing very little to stop this terror.  

In the last couple of days as we were warned this might happen, I prayed for the souls of these captives, as well as for their captors.  That may not seem like much, but for a homemaker deep in the heart of the United States, those humble words of prayer make a huge impact with God and eternity for others.

How are we to live in these days of mounting terrorism and apparent apathy from those who have the power and authority to be more pro-active? 

loading the dishwasher

How are those of us to live who believe we are in the last days? Are we to panic and rush around in a frenzy with gospel tracts, buttonholing every stranger we encounter at the grocery store?

Or are we to resign ourselves to the end being near and do nothing? 

doing the laundry

I am reminded of the days of Noah in the Old Testament. He preached for decades and built an ark in preparation for a rain storm while the world laughed at him and continued with their careers, their families and their recreation, oblivious to the disaster ahead of them.

cleaning house

My conscience won't let me be idle. For one thing, the "last days" could go on for decades, as in the story of Noah.  Life must go on. We still need to cope with today and help those who can't get through a day without assistance. 

We need to be about those things to which God has called us and remain faithful to the end, whenever that turns out to be. 

One of my husband's favorite pieces of counsel for me when I am greatly challenged is to "finish well."  I like that.  We all want it to be said of us, no matter how we may have managed the rest of our lives, that we "finished well."

What does that mean? For me it's to take care of my family and my home, to continue to relate in a winsome manner to my neighbors and the people in the grocery store, to drive the congested streets of my town with respect and patience, to continue to attend and contribute to my church and other Christian organizations that take the Gospel all over the world, to read God's Word daily and seek to apply that Truth to the dailyness of my life.

devotional books I recommend

I'm also seeking to limit my intake of the news media with all it's bad news and arguing back and forth about politics. It's important to be very mindful of what we feed our minds during these troubling times and to monitor our thoughts.  

And pray.  I need to be in continual communication with the Lord about all that is going on. My relationship with Him counsels and guides me through the perils and reminds me of the blessed hope, eternity with Him, that is just on the other side of the present drama. 

As for prayer for those caught in the evil webs of terrorism, eternity will tell how much my prayers made a difference.

That's what I'm supposed to be doing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Munching a Lara Bar This Wednesday

1. American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever watched? If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you sing?

I don’t watch American Idol although I have seen portions of it over the years. If I were to audition for the show I’d sing a hymn, “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing [my great Redeemer's praise]" ... a song the world needs to hear!

2.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." 

So when did you last have to 'eat a frog'? Or two? How'd that work out? 

I feel like I have to eat frogs often.  The older I get, the more I realize that much of what we say or commit ourselves to is shortly thereafter challenged. Sometimes I handle it well and sometimes I don’t. I'm definitely a work in progress.

3. If you were going on safari, what is the number one animal you'd want to see?

Giraffe   Elephant   Gorilla

4. January 21st is National Granola Bar Day. I know. Do you like granola bars? Chewy or crunchy? Your favorite flavor? How about regular granola? Let's exhaust this topic in honor of the holiday okay?

True granola bars, although tasty and satisfying, are so chewy that they tend to give me a TMJ flare-up, so I avoid them (unless I can SOAK them in hot tea to soften them).  However, I love Lara Bars and they don’t hurt my jaws.

5. If only__________________________________________. 

If only people would wake up and realize what is really going on in our world.

6. You can add one item to your bedroom. What will it be? Keep it family friendly please.

An eye-catching makeover as attractive and clever as what my daughter has done in her master bedroom:

7. What is one thing you've enjoyed about winter thus far? If it's not winter in your corner of the globe, what season is it, and what is something you've enjoyed about whatever season it happens to be?

I love my winter clothes: snuggy knee socks, warm shoes, sweaters and scarves. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Sending our Secretary of State to France to give them "a big hug," accompanied by  James Taylor singing  "You've Got a Friend"... our nation looks foolish to the world. 

This  set of Hodgepodge Wednesday questions - Volume 205 -- came from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. To see how other bloggers have responded to these same questions, click here:

From This Side of the Pond

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fire House Quilts Show'n Tell

an "I Spy" quilt for FHQ under construction in my sewing room right now

The activity in my sewing room has slowed a little this week...

We have two grand babies due to be born this year, one in February and the other in May. I completed the baby quilt for the first one (a girl!) but won't be posting a picture of it until it's been presented to the baby. I've been waiting to hear the gender of the second baby before beginning that quilt. 

is the baby a boy or a girl?

The mystery has been solved as of this afternoon. Our daughter-in-law sent us this picture to demonstrate how they shared the news with their other children.  Soon I'll be working on a baby boy quilt!

Inspiration is all around me.  This afternoon was a meeting of the Fire House Quilts group. I took pictures of "show'n tell."  This is when all the quilts donated since the last meeting (they meet twice monthly) are shown to all of us.  

These quilts are made primarily for our police and firemen to hand out to children who are victims in fires and car accidents, something to hold onto and cuddle at the scene of the accident/fire, etc.  when life deals them a frightening blow.  

The general rule for the quilts is that they be 45-inches square and machine-washable.  We make the quilts with materials donated to the group (or from our own fabric stash, if desired).  The patterns are usually something that's quick to machine-stitch so more quilts can be produced in a short amount of time. 

I've got about 20 pictures to share with you from today's show'n tell. I've blurred out the faces of the ladies for reasons of privacy. 

this one is an exception to the usual 45-inch square quilt


Since we are using donated fabric for these quilts, we sometimes run out of large enough
pieces for the quilt backs, but no problem! Our gals do some clever piecing.

sorry this one turned out blurry!

see the front, and ...

... here's the back!!



That's it for the show'n tell.  I hope you enjoyed it. If you are like me, we sometimes get stumped on what we want to sew, and especially when needing a quick design to assemble. Maybe today's pictures will help!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ponderous Thoughts

Today we drove about 45 minutes from our current home to attend the funeral of a long-time friend, the mother of a man we've known since our teen years. 

This dear lady lived a long, full life with adventure as an army nurse during World War II in Italy, and later marrying a good man and having children with him. She taught children's Sunday School for 20 years and left a fine legacy of how to live the Christian life .

I don't mind going to funerals and memorial services.  There is always something to be learned about how to live (and how to die) that we all need to hear. Once a person has died, they cannot amend their story to make it sound more palatable. It is what it is. How we live today and tomorrow and the next day after that ... it all adds up.

the location of our wedding in 1970 -- today
While pondering these thoughts, Beloved and I also remembered the day just a little over 44 years ago when we stood at the front of this same church and pledged ourselves to each other as husband and wife. 

It amazes me that between that cold December night of our wedding and this cold January morning of today, we have lived in seven states, raised three children, welcomed nine grandchildren, bought nine houses and sold eight of them, along with memberships in churches in all of those places, the replacement of body parts (joint replacements), a lot of scary hair styles, some fantastic vacations, a variety of employments, and countless other experiences.

behind one of these doors is where my friends and I changed into our wedding clothes
Time does march on and every single day of our lives has the potential to enhance our world or make it a little worse.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Good Day for the Hodgepodge

My house guests until Spring....
Our friend Joyce, From This Side of the Pond,  is back from her daughter’s wedding so our community of Hodgepodge bloggers is back in action this week with the questions Joyce has tossed out to us. To see the answers of my blogging friends, click here: http://www.fromthissideofthepond.com

Hodgepodge Questions - Volume 204

1. What's your best piece of advice for a newly married couple? I'm asking for a friend.

Set aside time every day to listen to each other tell about their day and then pray together. This advice saved my marriage some 25 years ago (we’ve been married 44 years). We still do this.

2. Before we're too far into the new year I wanted to post a question Teresa submitted during the December giveaway. Teresa blogs over at Being Refined As Silver, so everyone go say hi.

Teresa asks, "What were you doing on December 31st, 1999?"and "Did you or your family make preparations for Y2K?"

We set aside some bottled water and canned goods and sort of held our breath in the first day or so of 2000.

3. According to Global Language Monitor, the most used word of 2014 isn't a word. It's the heart emoji. Huh? How can something that's not a word be the most used word, but I digress. What do you think was your most used word in 2014?

My most-used word in 2014 was probably "blog"(!!!) and the smiley face symbols made out of punctuation marks, as well as the smiley face emoji. These are the ones I use the most when I text:

4. Speaking of words, it's that time again. Time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2015. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-

bae (before anyone else), polar vortex, hack, skill set, swag, foodie, curate/curated, friend-raising, enhanced interrogation, cra-cra (as in crazy), takeaway, and -nation (a suffering sports suffix).

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

Cra-cra is just dumb. The rest don’t bother me (I didn’t know what bae meant until just now as I read the definition).

5.  January is National Hot Tea month. Are you a fan? Do you like flavored teas? How do you take your tea? Have a favorite cup or teapot? How many cups of tea do you consume in a given day? 

This is my usual mug for tea. Peggy gave it to me as a housewarming gift.
It's produced by DaySpring. Beloved has one that says "mr." Cute, huh?!
I drink a cup of hot green tea [with caffeine] every morning and will sometimes have another cup of [decaf] tea later in the day if I feel like I need a pick-me-up. 

6. Whatever happened to “the customer is always right” and true service when seeking help in a retail store? Many merchants seem to take my business for granted.  Actually it’s the younger employees that act that way. The older ones tend to be more respectful. I am also disheartened when employees in the ‘big box stores’ don’t seem to know where certain items are located. 

7. What is one book on your must-read list this winter? 

I’d like to read The Vision of His Glory by Anne Graham Lotz, whose writing about the Biblical book of Revelation is very timely.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

This is what we watch on television these days while the snow swirls on our deck, piles up on our outdoor furniture, and makes the roads an adventure:

"Beach Front Bargain Hunt" o HGTV
But don't get me wrong, I still love living in Colorado!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Waking Up to a Wintery Day

Today I'm  coming out of the kitchen and sewing room to scribble my thoughts.... My Journal Reflections.

the streets in front of my house on a cold January morning

We woke up this morning to a dark, cold, foggy morning with snow on the ground and ice on the roads. 

Our football team lost their playoff game yesterday, so they won't be going to the Super Bowl. This is a strong disappointment for the ardent fans. I am sorry for them and the team but I'm also just as glad that it's all over for this season. 

My confidence in Quarterbck has not been so strong since our Super Bowl loss last year to Seattle. I was surprised at how rattled Quarterback appeared to be from the very first play of the game and it went downhill from there.  And this year (this season), even though the team played well enough to get into the playoffs, in the losing games it still seemed that Quarterback got lost in his focus.  

I think about that. I don't know what goes on in Quarterback's mind but I do know that what we are thinking greatly affects our performance -- at anything.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 23:7, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

We need to connect with God our Creator through His Son, Jesus Christ.  We were made for the Lord's pleasure and when we stay in a right relationship with Him, purpose and meaning make up our life. 

John 15:4, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Abiding in Christ doesn't mean we will achieve all the successes we want, but it does mean our lives will be what He intended for us.  He wants us to be fulfilled, even on the dark foggy days of winter.

John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Post Script: If it's cold in your town today, click on this link at my other blog to see the hot soup Beloved and I are having for lunch:

Cajun-Spiced Vegetable Soup

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year New Goals

putting away Christmas decorations for another year

Hey blog readers,

The New Year has arrived with new goals and a change for my writing. 

I am keeping this blog and will add to it occasionally, but there are two other areas where I would like to devote more attention in 2015.  As a result of that decision, this blog will have to take a back seat.

My Bungalow Kitchen is my foodie blog where I share the gluten-free recipes and other nutritional changes I've had to make in the last 14 months for the sake of improving some health problems. If food allergies are an issue for you, there may be something  in My Bungalow Kitchen that would interest you.

My other pursuit is not new but just something I want to do more of, and that's in my sewing room. I have recently become active again with a sewing group that donates quilts to a variety of community agencies.  I also have some sewing projects I want to do for my own home. Then there's the matter of sewing baby quilts for my prolific children (11 grands as of this writing, 2 of them to be born in the next few months)! 

I just wanted you to know what's happening here. Thank you for the interest you show in my blog(s). I hope you will continue to stop by as time allows.

Blessings and Happy New Year!